To My Beloved Congregation

It is with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and tenderness that I write you now to tell you that I will be leaving as your minister. I intend to continue serving through the period of my contract, which goes through June 30, 2018. I will always treasure the years that I have been with the UUCiA. There are no words to express how deeply I love you, and have felt loved by you. It has been an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure.

This is my ninth year as your consulting minister; though it has always been a part-time, year-to-year contract position, I think the commitment between the congregation and me has felt more like that of a settled or “called” ministry position. We have been, in my opinion, a wonderful match for each other. We have successfully shared ministry together, from creating a warm, nurturing spiritual community of all ages to becoming more involved in anti-racist initiatives that match the promise of our Black Lives Matter flag, including such nascent organizations as Merrimack Valley Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network.

Throughout the fall, I have been in discernment as to what is best for the UUCiA in moving forward. I have been impressed by the commitment of the fUUture Task Force and the Board in thinking through options for financial stability. I have been impressed by the engagement of the congregation in attending the information meetings and the Mid-Year Meeting as well.

I have been deeply touched that so many of you want to find a way to keep my time at three-quarters. I also feel that in some ways, the conversation about the future of the congregation has focused too much on keeping me as the minister, whether at three-quarter-time or half-time.

I strongly believe that the congregation needs to focus on its mission and vision beyond the question of who is serving as your professional minister. After much discernment, I feel that my continuing presence will distract and detract from the work that you need to put before you in the months and years to come.

The congregation needs to look ahead courageously and with hope and perhaps even an entrepreneurial spirit. I am choosing to leave now because I believe that the congregation will be in a better position to take a fresh look at its future with a new professional minister. I do not make this decision lightly, or without sadness. I am currently “in search”. There are some exciting possibilities for me, and I will certainly let you know what my next professional step will be.

Please know that I am very happy to serve as your minister for the next several months; we have enough time for a good leave-taking, and we also have a chance to have a meaningful second half of the congregational year. I am giving months of notice in part so that the Board and other lay leaders will have time to be in touch with New England Region staff as well as the Transitions Office at the Unitarian Universalist Association as you begin to think about the direction you would like to take in terms of professional ministry.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a wonderful congregation.

With love and in faith,

Rev. M. Lara Hoke

Posted in From the Minister

Upcoming Events

Events are held at 6 Locke Street unless otherwise indicated. Questions? Is your event not listed? Please tell us! The deadline for newsletter submissions is Wednesdays at 6pm. See full calendar
  • May 4, 2018
    Pasta Pot Luck

    The Luisis provide the pasta; you bring salad, bread, beverage, dessert, we will gather at 6:30pm and start dinner…

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    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm6 Locke St.


  • May 6, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

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    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • May 10, 2018
    Board Of Directors

    Members and friends of the congregation are always welcome to attend Board meetings.

    Return to the UUCiA…

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    7:15 pm to 8:45 pm6 Locke Street


  • May 11, 2018
    pUUb Theology

    Come by at 6:30pm or later. We will gather in our sanctuary, transformed into a “pub” for the evening,…

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    6:30 pm to 9:30 pm6 Locke Street


  • May 11, 2018
    pUUb Theology

    Come by at 6:30pm or later. We will gather in our sanctuary, transformed into a “pub” for the evening,…

    More details

    6:30 pm to 9:30 pm6 Locke Street


  • May 13, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

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    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • May 15, 2018
    Book Discussion Group

    The book group meets on the third Tuesday of the month at various homes. All are welcome to attend…

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    7:30 pm to 9:00 pmVarious Homes


  • May 19, 2018
    An Evening of Jazz and Blues

    Don’t miss the annual evening of jazz right here at the UUCiA! Jazz band “Day for Night” (featuring…

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    7:00 pm to 9:30 pm6 Locke Street


  • May 20, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

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    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • June 1, 2018
    Pasta Pot Luck

    The Luisis provide the pasta; you bring salad, bread, beverage, dessert, we will gather at 6:30pm and start dinner…

    More details

    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm6 Locke St.


  • June 3, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

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    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • June 8, 2018
    Cape Cod Retreat

    One of the UUCIA’s favorite traditions is the all ages annual retreat.

    Members and friends of…

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    12:00 am to 11:59 pmBrewster, MA, USA


  • June 8, 2018
    Cape Cod Retreat

    One of the UUCIA’s favorite traditions is the all ages annual retreat.

    Members and friends of…

    More details

    12:00 am to 11:59 pmBrewster, MA, USA


  • June 8, 2018
    Cape Cod Retreat

    One of the UUCIA’s favorite traditions is the all ages annual retreat.

    Members and friends of…

    More details

    12:00 am to 11:59 pmBrewster, MA, USA


  • June 10, 2018
    Sunday Service: NO Service Today!

    There will be no worship service at 6 Locke Street today because of our annual congregational retreat. Hope to see…

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    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street